Sen. Richard Gordon asked the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) to explain why it allowed around 28,000 Chinese nationals to stay in the Philippines as retirees. Forty percent of whom were as young as 35 years old.
The senator expressed that the PRA allowing young Chinese retirees in the Philippines is similar to the “pastillas” scheme in the Bureau of Immigration.
“We will have our chance [to confront PRA]. We will be asked by the senators on the budget, and surely, that will come out. They must be ready [to explain] because if not, then we’ll investigate,” he said.
Gordon questioned the PRA policy that allowed Chinese nationals as young as 35 to remain in the Philippines as retirees.
“With all due respect to China, their actions make me wary about them. That’s me personally,” he said.
Gordon said that the young Chinese could be in the Philippines for two reasons. One is to work in the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) and to undertake intelligence activities.
“That worries me even more,” he said.
Gordon asks PRA to explain young Chinese retirees
Last week, the PRA board had ordered the suspension of the issuance of retirement visas to foreigners.
On Friday, the issuance of special retirees residence visas (SRRV) to foreigners was stopped while the PRA was studying the age acceptance policy and visa deposit requirements of foreign retirees.
The board will meet again on November 6 to discuss the issue.
During the Senate hearing on the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) 2021 budget proposal on Monday, some senators were concerned about the PRA’s policy of accepting foreign retirees from the age of 35 and above.
The total number of foreign retirees in the country is more than 70,000, and more than 27,000 or almost 40 percent of them are from China.
PRA, an attached agency of the DOT, has written to the Department of Labor and Employment to look into the matter.
The minimum age of foreign retirees was reduced to 35 years from the previous 50 years in 1993.
On the other hand, the DOT assured that it would increase the monitoring of the profiles and activities of foreign retirees in the country.